On the surface many things seem unrelated, but in fact, all things are connected. In small communities such as Versailles, everyone knows everyone and most everyone is related, although perhaps once or twice removed.
The same is true when it comes to the Easter bunny and Easter eggs. Although the Easter egg has been associated with pagan festivals which celebrate spring, it was an ancient symbol of new life. The Christian agrees the egg symbolizes new life and rebirth, as well as, it represents Jesus Christ’s emergence from the tomb and resurrection. The dyeing of the Easter eggs seems to be an ancient tradition, when they were stained red in memory of the blood Christ shed during his crucifixion. This custom can be traced to early Christians in Mesopotamia; from there it spread through the Orthodox Churches of Russia and Siberia, and then made its way into the Catholic and Protestant churches of Europe. Boiling and decorating Easter eggs (sometimes called Paschal eggs) have become a typical Easter ritual in most homes, yet I dare guess most people never thought the tradition to be rooted in Christianity. But doesn’t everything come from above?
Then there’s the Easter bunny, the egg giving rabbit. Some of the first mentions of the Easter bunny appeared in 16th-century German writings. The word “Easter” is thought to come from the Teutonic goddess of springtime Eostre, who was associated with rabbits because of their connection with fertility. Early German cultures believed that the Goddess Eostre and her egg-laying hares ushered in the season of spring. It’s believed that the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania Dutch) and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase,” which included making nests for the eggs to be laid by the bunny.
Today we build nests within our Easter baskets, which are also ideal for toting when we are on the hunt for Easter eggs, whether boiled, chocolate, or malted. Since the Pennsylvania Dutch children would hold the eggs they received in their prepared nests until it was time to eat them, it is likely the Easter egg hunt we know today and the handled basket evolved from those German youngsters. (Incidentally I got a kick out of learning this because my dad always spoke of his Pennsylvania Dutch heritage on his mother’s side, Grandpa Solomon Eley, who was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but farmed most of his life in Darke County and is at rest in Beamsville Cemetery.)
In our area Easter egg hunts are celebratory and a fun activity for the children (and occasionally adults), as well as, a teaching opportunity for families, teaching not only our Christian beliefs but social graces. For it should be about anticipation and participation and not about greed or selfishness. Nothing takes the joy out of things quicker than poor sportsmanship and bad behavior. It only takes one person to spoil things for everyone, and that’s one way we are reminded that we are all connected. Most especially at Easter, our connection to one another is made gloriously clear.
Happy Easter egg hunting! You don’t need to worry about me finding your eggs … I can’t even find my car keys! But I’m keeping good company because I know people that hide their own Easter eggs, wait a half hour and have no clue where they put them. Wishing you a blessed and beautiful Easter, may your basket be filled with many goodies and your heart is overflowing with the peace of forgiveness, love, hope and joy.
Saturday (Holy Saturday), April 19 is the Easter egg hunt to be held at Heritage Park (if it’s too wet it will be moved to the St. Denis Church lot) at 2 p.m. This is open to all boys and girls, ages 10 and under, living in the Versailles School District. There’s no need to preregister, but it’s important to show up on time and get in the proper age group before 2 p.m. Any questions or concerns should be directed to Jerry Bey, Jr. at 937-621-0363 (leave a message).
Easter Sunday masses and services are held at all churches, check with your church for this information or attend the 6:30 a.m. Easter Son-rise Service at Versailles United Methodist (122 W. Wood St.) and follow it up with their Easter Breakfast, which begins serving at 8 a.m.
Finally 10:30 a.m. on Easter Sunday there will be an Egg Hunt at Webster Church.
Happy birthday to Fr. David Vincent (81), Fr. James Duell, Alma Bruns, Ruby Hayes, Donna Grillot, Emily Clark, Sabrina Leach, Sue Mohler, Jerry Chrisman, Lauren Flory, Jenn Wysocki, Kregg Litten, Tim Miller, Renee Seibert, Karen Mescher, Joyce Kittel, Lori Ricketts, Matt Monnin, Dan Franks, Kami Schmitmeyer, Sol Bulcher, Krystal Lewis, Roger Bowersock, Darin Whittington, Brian Henry, Nichole Frantz, Julie Magoto, Randy Magoto, Ed Larson, Shiela Didier, Melisa Heitkamp, Deanne Rhoads, Ed Monnin, Nic Zumberger, Hillary Monnin, Bambi McClure, Bethany Jones, Jude Collins, Bob Buxton, Wesley Bruns, Joe Taylor, Sandy Noggle, as their birthdays approach, as well as, anniversary wishes to Laura and Ron Turner (12), Tiffany and Chad Potter (15), Jenni and Steve Shields (17), Renee and Chad Browder (21), Jeanne and Dennis Johnson (21), Tami and Steve Shrock (28), Stacy and Fred Poeppelman (31), Sylvia and Larry Henry (41), Joan and Gene Epperly (47), and Connie and Ted Schmitmeyer (53).
Please give your supportive and healing prayers for the many who are dealing with any of life’s countless challenges, and especially Diane Barga, Mike Smith, Art Gaier, Barb Kissinger, Lois Kindell, Joan Kunk, Sally Mescher, Thelma Johnson, Sue Vickroy, Tom Scott, Ruth Pierron, Julia Billenstein, Don Henry, Cali Groff, Janice Berger, Violet Bensman, Fr. John White, Kellie Gehret, Donna Apple, Michelle Sherman, Aiden Myers, Cyril Frantz, Barb Goubeaux, and those not mentioned by name who are recuperating, under medical care, and/or are in need of our prayers.
Heartfelt sympathy is extended to the family and friends of Patricia Dieringer (80), Jeanne Egbert (81), Harlan Stangel (94 Janice Mumaw’s father), and Merilda Hoying (96). Also remembering and keeping in our hearts the memories of Dale Monnin, Jerome Oliver, Helen Berger Council, Gary Hemmelgarn, Betty Rindler, Martha Borchers, and Zeno “Bud” Sutter, Doug Gehret, Sue Gorrell, Nick Barhorst, David Isenhouer, Chuck Thompson, Leona Dickey, Delbert Grilliot, Deloris Hesson, Hazel Matthieu, Anna Henry, Glen Rismiller, Vern Winner, Lewis Kremer, Helen DeMange, Nick Grillot, Todd Prenger, Ruth Francis, Frances Gasson, Edward Stephan, Andrew Kunk, Joan Gigandet, Eileen (Hartings) Schulze, Herman Smith and all those held in our hearts, but not mentioned by name as the anniversary of their passing nears.
“The Easter season reminds us of our new beginnings” ~C. Edwards
“An Easter equation: 1 cross + 3 nails = 4given”
Kathy Magoto is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her Friday Versailles community column. She can be reached at email@example.com or at 526-3798. Feel free to contact her with Versailles news and tidbits. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.